* S&P 500, Nasdaq on track for six-day advance
* Netflix up after results, Facebook gains on upgrade
* Allergan soars as Ackman and Valeant bid for company
* Indexes up: Dow 0.68 pct, S&P 0.67 pct, Nasdaq 1.13 pct
(Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 22 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday,
with both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on track for a sixth straight
day, buoyed by a host of solid earnings reports along with
strength in the healthcare sector.
Netflix Inc surged 5.9 percent to $369.04 a day
after showing strong subscriber growth, a sign the trading
favorite still had room to grow despite recent concerns over its
valuation. With the day's gain, the stock moved to the plus side
for the year after a 21 percent drop in March.
Healthcare, up 1.5 percent, was the best performing
of the 10 major S&P sectors, as Allergan Inc jumped 15.8
percent to $164.48 a day after activist investor William Ackman
teamed up with Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals
International Inc to bid for the company. U.S.-listed
Valeant shares gained 7.6 percent to $135.56.
Also providing support to the sector was a deal between
Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, in which the two
companies traded over $20 billion worth of assets in an effort
to cope with healthcare spending cuts and generic competition.
U.S.-listed shares of Novartis gained 1.4 percent to
$86.67 while shares of Glaxo trading in New York
advanced 4.1 percent to $55.31.
Facebook Inc shares rose 3 percent to $63.08 to help
boost the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500. Credit Suisse upgraded
the social networking company to "outperform" on higher
expectations for the company's long-term average revenue per
Better-than-expected earnings have lifted equities recently,
though companies have largely been exceeding reduced forecasts.
Profits are seen rising 1.1 percent this quarter, down from the
6.5 percent growth rate estimated at the start of the year.
"Earnings are certainly providing a constructive context for
engagement," said Peter Kenny, CEO of Clearpool Group in New
York. "They are also importantly providing forward
looking-guidance and confidence the rally we've had over the
previous three or four years, though we've seen a pause in the
first quarter, is not a compelling reason to sell equities."
Dow components Travelers Cos Inc and United
Technologies Corp both beat expectations, and United
Tech raised the low end of its full-year profit outlook. Shares
of Travelers rose 0.6 percent to $86.89 while United Tech was up
1.3 percent at $119.89.
McDonald's Corp reported earnings that fell
alongside a drop in U.S. same-store sales, and its shares
slipped 0.3 percent to $99.42.
With 20 percent of the S&P having reported, 63 percent have
topped earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data,
even with the long-term average. On the revenue side, 51 percent
have exceeded forecasts, below the 61 percent long-term average.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 112.02 points
or 0.68 percent, to 16,561.27, the S&P 500 gained 12.63
points or 0.67 percent, to 1,884.52 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 46.47 points or 1.13 percent, to 4,168.016.
Both the S&P and Nasdaq are on track for a sixth straight
day of gains. The S&P has gained 3.8 percent over that period
while the Nasdaq is up 4.2 percent.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)